With the Mets dangling a willingness to “listen to offers” for their two front-line starting pitchers, and the Yankees in need of bolstering their rotation for the pennant drive, you would think it’s a marriage made in heaven, especially with the Yankees being tailor-made to restock the Mets with young talent. But, not so fast…
The prevailing thinking over the years has always been the Yankees and Mets are like oil and water, and ne’er the twain shall meet when it comes to the two teams making deals. Double the drama when it comes to their fans.
But a closer look at the potential for dealmaking reveals another problem that supersedes even that one. Yes, the Yankees are in a position to offer a three-for-one deal on Noah Syndergaard, and a four-for-one opportunity for the Mets to deal Jacob deGrom, each with major league ready talent, except for one thing.
The Mets don’t necessarily need what the Yankees have to offer their cross-town rivals. Driving to work yesterday, I listened to the guys on MLB’s Radio Network proposing a deal for either Syndergaard or deGrom in which the Mets would gain Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Estevan Florial, and Billy McKinney.
All of these players are recognizable names, and they all could step into the Mets lineup or rotation today, but three are outfielders, positions where there is already a quagmire which won’t disappear until the Mets unload Jay Bruce and their Diva “Star Attraction,” Yoenis Cespedes.
Bruce, whose value continues to descend into depths unknown, can probably be dealt to a contending team searching for lightning in a bottle as was the case last season when the Mets traded Bruce to the Cleveland Indians, just in time for the Indians pennant drive.
Cespedes is another story, though, and his constant battle with football legs trying to play baseball is a nightmare the Mets bought, and will likely have to live with until his contract expires.
The deal for these Yankees players could still be done if Sandy Alderson flips Frazier, Florial, and McKinney in other transactions that bring players of equal value to the Mets in positions where they are needed.
Movement of this kind would require some hard work, research, and determination to find the “right” players who fit into the Mets team, such that it is. The question then becomes, do you see Sandy Alderson fumbling the snap, or recalling and utilizing the skills he had when he was the GM of the Oakland A’s in the days of Moneyball?
So, what do the Mets need? Asdrubal Cabrera, the Mets second baseman is a free agent at the conclusion of this season and given his age (32), the Mets have no business being in the market for his services. The Yankees have zero second basemen listed among their Top 30 Prospects, and therefore can’t help the Mets.
The Mets also need a first baseman, and as we will see, the call-up of Dominic Smith to replace the exiled Adrian Gonzalez, who finally earned his release, is not the answer. The Yankees do have Tyler Austin on their major league roster, and he could be a fit for the Mets until Peter Alonso is ready to move up the ladder in less than a year.
The Mets also need a third baseman, and once again the Yankees have nothing to offer among their prospects. The Yankees odd man out at the moment, however, is Brandon Drury who is stuck at Triple-A Scranton behind Miguel Andujar, who is apparently the Yankees third baseman for the next decade.
Drury is a favorite of Yankees GM Brian Cashman, and it is said Cashman coveted Drury for a year or so until he was finally able to pry him away from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Drury is healthy and playing well.
The Mets will never have a better opportunity than now to trade deGrom. He’s at the top of his game and is controllable only through 2021. With the right choices, the haul deGrom brings in has all the makings of moving the Mets forward, given the lack of depth in their system.
Syndergaard is another matter. Prone to a series of injuries, he has managed to make only 18 starts for the Mets between 2017 and 2018. While his value is not plummeting, it’s certainly not what it was two seasons ago when he made 30 starts in 2016.
The Mets have said they are going to “take a look at things” over the next couple of weeks before they seriously entertain trading either Syndergaard or deGrom. If either is traded, Mets fans expect a windfall of returned prospects.
Therefore, coupled with the animosity between the teams, chances of a deal appear to be dim. At this point, it seems the Mets are likely to stand pat, hoping for a rebound on the team’s play before they trade either of their stars. Neither is expected to happen and when August 1 rolls around, it’s more likely the Mets will be the same team they are now, in all respects.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are more apt to repeat what they did last season when they picked up Sonny Gray from the Oakland A’s, a starter who remains under team control until 2020.
Blake Snell, currently a starter for the Tampa Bay Rays, fits nicely in that requirement and is having a superb season at the age of 25. Snell has made a league-leading 14 starts this season compiling an 8-3 record along with a 2.30 ERA for the mediocre Rays.
Under team control until 2023, Snell is like to grab the attention of the Yankees more so than the frequently named Chris Archer. Either one would be a good fit for the Yankees needs.
It is the Rays misfortune to play in the AL East, and even though they’ve managed to hover around .500, without personnel improvement, the team is destined to be a third-place team for a number of years.
The Yankees will get their man. Much to the chagrin of many fans, they always do. But until the Yankees add that much-needed starter, especially now with Masahiro Tanaka battling not one, but two hamstrings, the team is not likely to separate themselves from the Red Sox.